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Norv Speaks

Here are Norv Turner's comments after the Jets game:

Opening Statement:
“From an injury standpoint this is probably the best we’ve come out of a game. Luis- it was a scary moment there when he was cut. He played in the second half, he’s got soreness right now but all the tests, he had an MRI, and everything came out saying he’s fine. It will be a day to day thing to see what he’s able to do but I feel pretty good about it. Everywhere else other than the normal bumps and bruises we feel pretty good about where we’re at. 

"Obviously the most important thing for me and our football team last night was to win the football game and we got that done. Along the way there are certain things we wanted to get done. We wanted to improve the play of our defense, particularly in the first half and I thought we came out and accomplished a lot of things defensively in the first half, giving up 88 yards. Obviously there were 14 points but one of them was an interception for a touchdown and one was a five yard drive after a kickoff return. 

"Again to be repetitive, and I guess coaching is about repetition, every team is a work in progress right now and that’s what we are. We have things that we are doing at a real high level and things we need to do better. One of our strengths has been special teams, our coverage teams particularly, and we weren’t as good as we’ve been and when you start breaking it down there is a trickle down effect that happens when you start having players who were backups on special teams become starters. Jyles Tucker is an example; Steve Gregory is an example playing so much in our nickel package when people start to spread you out. Then you start asking other guys to step up and take their place or play more on special teams. We’ve got some guys that just have to play better in the kicking game. 

"Two weeks ago I said that we have some guys in our nickel packages that have not played a lot of football that have to play better and that’s going to be a big emphasis for us and its going to be a big part of our season looking ahead is how these young guys who haven’t played a lot of football develop in terms of being able to play in our third down packages, in our substitution packages and then picking up the slack and carrying their load in special teams.”
Is 80% of LT better than 100% of Darren Sproles?
“I like the mix we have with our backs. I’m not going to get caught up in the ‘If LT were in on this play he would’ve got five yards and Sproles only got two, if Sproles would’ve been in on this play he would’ve got eight and LT got four,’ we have the best back in football in LT and we need to get him going like he’s done. A year ago without the injury he didn’t start as fast as I would’ve liked him to or expected him to. He was a lot better in this game, we were better blocking in this game, he was close on two or three plays to hitting a 50 yarder. The more he plays the sooner that’s going to happen and Sproles is a great compliment to that right now.”
Could Sproles be an every down back?
“I wouldn’t put any limitations on Darren because he continues to amaze and impress me. There are things that you have to be careful with. This team that we were playing last night, their outside linebackers are 265, 270, 275, they are big men. As much as we try to scheme and keep Darren away from having to block people like that they scheme to create matches where he does have to block them. I think that the mix that we have right now with Darren is very good. He’s obviously going to continue to be a big factor in our return game on special teams and he’s given us a great change of pace on offense.”
Why did you make the change to a more blitzing, aggressive defense?
“It’s always a perception thing. I’m not sure we blitzed a whole lot more or a dramatic amount different. We had more success when we blitzed. The Jets present different problems than the two teams we played before and they present different opportunities for us so I was pleased with the mix we had and with the production we had when we went after them.”
Was the hit on Castillo legal?
“It’s hard when you get into those deals. Backs are trying to help and protect and sometimes the guys engage and sometimes guys don’t engage. Sometimes there’s a split hair where they’re engaged and not engaged. I think the league will look at it and if they think it was an illegal block they will declare it. Those are hard situations for players to be put in. I don’t think that it was intentional.”
Do you think that the defense took it upon themselves to play better?
“We were able to put together a complete game. We played good on defense in spots and parts in the second halves of both of our first two games. We limited the teams we played awfully well. We came out and played well early, to me that was the difference.”
Is there a danger in being that aggressive every week?
“You have to make a decision, a plan based on who you’re playing and you have to fit it to how it matches up. I don’t think that we did anything that was reckless. I don’t think that we did anything that wasn’t sound and I don’t think we have throughout the first three games.”
Did you think Matt Wilhelm was better last night?
“Yeah, as I said, the easy answer is to ask about scheme and you always have to be evaluating scheme. Usually when you play better it’s because a lot of guys played better. I thought we played better in a lot of positions last night and I thought Matt played well.”
Will you continue to rotate Wilhelm and Dobbins there?
“Yeah, Tim Dobbins gives us a physical presence. He’s very aggressive. Obviously Matt brings a lot of things from a coverage standpoint and from his knowledge of the defense so I think that’s been a good mix.”
Knowing Denver is 3-0 when you start yesterday, does that change your approach or how you saw things last night?
“I really believe we’ve had a good sense of urgency for each game. We haven’t executed as well in some situations as we’d like to. I thought our sense of urgency was very good last night. You can’t look outside of your own building. We’ve got to take care of ourselves and go play each game and win as many games as we can. That usually takes care of itself.”
What’s going to be LT’s status as far as practice this week? Do you expect him to be limited?
“I believe that he came out of the game pretty good. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow when we go out and warm up and move around. Like he’s done, he’s done as much as he’s capable of doing and then be ready to play. He will push it as far as he can and do everything he can to start getting more practice reps and that will help him, but not to a point where you go out and practice hard for three days and then be sore on Saturday. I don’t think that would be in our best interest.”
Do you see something different in Philip Rivers this year in terms of his confidence or mechanics?
“I think he’s just made the progression and I think some people have documented it based on that midpoint of last year where he started playing at a really high level. I just see it as a growth pattern. We were getting used to each other in terms of the offense and he was getting used to the way we go about attacking and playing offense. Obviously he had the tough play last night on the interception for the touchdown. The ball got snapped a count early. He got the ball, no one was really ready and instead of just throwing it away he tried to make something happen. Other than that he was outstanding last night. I just think it’s a progression. Touchdown passes, it’s just a funny thing. You can go three weeks and not throw one; you can go three weeks and throw nine based on how things come up. We threw a touchdown on the one-yard line based on how they were playing. Most of the time we’re going to give the ball to the tailback. I think that pass helped us get the ball to the tailback later in the game. I’m not a stat guy. I don’t get caught up in that stuff. Obviously my purpose and the team’s purpose is to go win and then all that other stuff takes care of itself.”
What do you expect to see from the Raiders this week?
“Obviously with the Monday night game, we got started and got right into it this morning. The Raiders are playing at a very, very high level defensively. They’re playing in a very aggressive manner. The season didn’t start the way they wanted to in the opener but the last two games they’ve been outstanding on defense. They’re obviously running the ball as well as anyone in the National Football League. They’re using a couple backs and they’re just pounding it and pounding it and pounding it. They’re a big, physical offensive line. They had every right to win the game last week in Buffalo against a very good Buffalo team, losing on the last play of the game. We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play a very physical football game.”
Are you surprised with Lane Kiffin’s situation, what he’s going through right now?
“It’s really not even an issue with us and I don’t have an opinion of it.”
Is it advantageous for you, going to play a team that’s dealing with some unusual things?
“Here’s what you do: you guys all talk about that and we look at the tape. And you look at the tape of this team and they’re playing physical, physical football and they’re playing at a high level. All that stuff doesn’t mean anything to me or to us. We’re going to look at the tape and watch these guys. Their defensive front is playing at a high level. They’ve got two of the best corners in the National Football League. They’re pounding the football with those two young backs. It’s going to be a real challenge.”
Is the depth of the kickoffs a concern right now, the distance that you’re getting?
“It’s crazy, Nate has kicked the ball so darn deep and he’s kicked it so well. He didn’t have his best night last night. That is an issue. When we got hit with the one (return), we tried to kick the ball and place the ball in a couple different spots. What I really think happened, we’ve got some young guys on the kickoff coverage. When we got hit with one, instead of saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to go fly and go faster,’ I think we got a bit passive and conservative and that’s usually what happens with young guys. We’ve got to go turn it loose and we’ve got to go cover kicks. You can’t worry about what happened on the last one. You’ve got to go and be more aggressive. It’s like we start feeling our way, and I think that’s typical of having some young guys.”